Queering Cultural AppropriationMaking queer culture “Pop”

This week in Canadian news, one of the main stories that broke was one about cultural appropriation. “Canada’s University” Ottawa University, located in the nations capital made a move to cancel a free yoga class offered to students, over fears that the teachings could be seen as “cultural appropriation”.

I’d never considered Yoga in the context of cultural appropriation. Nor quite honestly have I ever considered Judo, Golf or any other athletic pursuits hailing from cultures abroad as forms cultural appropriation. They were always just popular sports to me. This whole topic got me to thinking… “Man! Have I ever learned a lot about the world via cultural appropriation!” I wonder if anyone else has considered the educational merits of globalization aka “cultural appropriation”.

Running with this train of thought, if education cures ignorance. Couldn’t cultural appropriation reasonably remedy discrimination? In my millennial pop culture mind, a culture has only truly made it, once it’s been appropriated. In a likes economy being appropriated is like, well… viral likes. Technically Yoga has just broken the internet this past week.

On my xmas wish list this year is for queer culture to be appropriated. My vision is this:

As I walked down the street, as far as my queer eyes could see, everyone not just me, would be wearing comfortable foot ware. Think great androgynous boots. The Tuesday “mommy and me stroller exercise class” in the park would be filled with housewives sporting freshly shaved undercuts. While I popped over to the mall to get a few hats, (because the mall would now be filled with great places to buy hats) over mall airwaves the playlist would be a loop of Michigans Women’s Music Festivals greatest hits. My favourite burger joint would offer GF, Vegan, Organic options with sides of hummus instead of fries and NO ONE would stare at my girlfriend and I for holding hands. In the evening my biggest dilemma would be choosing a movie at the theatre because 3 of 4 leading ladies would be queer actresses.

This my Baybays, sounds not unlike “the perfect world”. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not trying to undermine racism and discrimination. Yes, many minorities have suffered oppression and cultural genocide due to colonialism and western supremacy. However there is a big gap between folks trying to do a good thing like offer a free relaxation class to stressed out students and those showing up in “red face” to a concert. Say these Ottawa U. yoga students not only decompress a little stress, but learn a few elements of a beautiful culture, what’s the harm? Sometimes we are so quick to blow the whistle and be offended that we fail to see the good and positive intentions. I get the raw nerve, but at the end of the day everyone sporting an undercut and chic comfortable footwear only makes the world a more beautiful place to me.